HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
"We're back at it - we had a day yesterday to kind of take inventory of some things as a staff and then players were obviously off, except for treatment, and then started again this morning. We're not working on Pittsburgh yet - until tomorrow - so this day is totally about the Broncos and what we need to do to try to improve. Some good news on the injury front - I'm not going to talk about what percentage some of these players are (at) or how much or if they'll play in the game but (RB Correll) Buckhalter will practice today, (CB) Champ (Bailey) will practice today, (WR) Demaryius Thomas will practice today, (OL Chris) Kuper will practice today and then tomorrow we're expecting (RB) LenDale White to practice and (OL) Ryan Clady and then the rest of the guys are continuing to get treatment. (I) don't want to put a timetable on that but that's our goal for today and tomorrow in terms of getting some people back out there - (LB) D.J. Williams will also be back out there too today. It feels good to get a few more of those guys out there and actually start practicing together here a little bit and get ready for the year."
On OL Ryan Clady
"He had done a great job of everything that he could do and that he could control once the injury occurred so (I) commend him for that. He's really set a good example, he's kept himself - he's really pushed himself hard and we feel like he's on the right timetable so we're going to get him back in there and start working him in and he's been running and doing those kinds of things already so we feel like it's about the right time for him to start working back in, in terms of football."
On releasing LB Akin Ayodele
"We've gone through a lot of practices, obviously, and a few games and we're going to move (LB) Mario Haggan back inside and we're going to play him at ‘Mike' and because of that the backup positions become more special-teams specific. Certainly Akin did everything we asked him to do; we appreciate everything he did. He'd definitely be a guy that we'd bring back here if the situation was right. I just don't believe in taking veteran players to the final cutdown once you've already made a decision as a staff that this is the direction that you're going to (go). I don't think it's fair to them and it certainly doesn't do us any good either. We just wanted to go ahead and do that and be honest with him. We respect everything that he did. Again, we would play him here again if the situation arose and it was right for both of us but at this point we felt like that would just be stringing a player along."
On the linebackers
"Well, we're going to go ahead and kind of attack that situation a little differently. We're going to give - (LB) Jarvis Moss is back now, kind of healthy and had an opportunity to use that hand a little bit in practice and in the game and he'll be out there lining up opposite of (LB) Robert (Ayers). (LB Baraka) Atkins has really improved in terms of the production he's had at outside linebacker in the first two preseason games - we like where he's going. (LB) Jason Hunter is new but he's played in this league - at this time, he's our sack leader on the roster as it stands. So, again, he's played football, he's been productive, he's going to get his opportunity to stand up and play on the edge. We're going to rush those guys plenty, no matter who they are which is pretty much a strength of those players and try to keep them coming forward more than backwards. We've done that with all of our outside linebackers so I just felt like - (LB) Mario (Haggan) practiced at ‘Mike' the entire spring, practiced at ‘Mike' until the situation came up with (LB) Elvis (Dumervil) so we're going to go ahead and put him where I think he's most comfortable right now, where he's had certainly the most reps and then let him have an opportunity to go ahead and play there and play fast. "
On coping with the injuries
"Yeah, I think we've got to do what we've got to do with who's out there. It's been unfortunate that we've had some of these guys miss (time) but I think now that you start to get them back out there, you start to really develop the chemistry on both sides of the ball that you really need going into the season. There's no guarantee we're going to be at a place where we would love to be at the very first game of the year but that is something that we can't control. That just means that maybe we hit that chemistry perfect maybe in the middle of the year somewhere and that's OK. We've just got to build - every team goes through this and we're going to put these guys back in there. We've still got plenty of time - we've got three weeks to get ready."
On whether the team knows its strengths
"I believe they do and I think the thing about that is that you're not always going to do - we talked about that in the Detroit game. There are some of the things in terms of our strengths that we didn't do particularly well - at least at times in the game. We feel like we're a physical defense, we've shown the ability to do that, we played that way in Cincinnati, we've practiced that way - we didn't play as fast and physical as we wanted to but that's definitely something that I think they feel that they pride themselves on and we have to play that way. Offensively, again, there are different things that we've done very well at times and I think we're kind of hoping to get the running game kicked into gear where we've missed some tight ends, we've missed the backs, we've missed (OL Chris) Kuper, (OL Ryan) Clady - there have been a lot of pieces that haven't necessarily been in there but I think that they know what we want to try to establish and how we want to play on both sides of the ball and I think that it's just a matter of consistency and having an opportunity to rep those things."
On the team's identity
"To me, if you develop a toughness and a physicality - that's not going to change. That has to be consistent. I think we try to get our football team to play smart and that kind of plays into the versatility. We're not going to play the Steelers anywhere near the way we played the Lions in terms of the game plan, what we're going to try to do in terms of scheme, what we're going to try to do with some of our players and that versatility comes from having an intelligent team that understands the keys to beating the Pittsburgh Steelers are not the same as beating the Lions and that will be really true the rest of the season, so I think they understand what we want to try to do. I think situationally this team is much further ahead than we were last year at this time. Two-minute offense has been productive, red area defense has been productive - still have to improve in terms of our third-down percentage on both sides of the ball. The kicking game was dramatically different against the Lions than it was against the Bengals so there have been some situational things that we've really spent a lot of time on that have started to show positive results too."
On OL Ryan Clady
"He's going to - this isn't one of those things where he's going to go out there in a hat and kind of go through a walkthrough. He'll be out there and we're going to go ahead and bring him along just like you would any player that's coming off of an injury where he's been away for a period of time. We're going to put him back out there and slowly bring him back to where we need him to be. I think the goal is for him to be as ready to go for as long as he could be in the opener. That's the goal."
On if any players have made impressions after the team's injuries
"I don't really want to single out a player. I think - the thing about the injuries is that I think it has allowed us to put some younger players in there more than what we would have maybe put them in early in camp. There certainly has been a lot of players that have taken snaps, whether it be with the first group or the second group that have now gained valuable experience that I'm not quite certain they would have received had it not been for the injuries. So, whether it be an (LB Baraka) Atkins, (OL Zane) Beadles and those guys playing more up front on the offensive line because there were less healthy bodies to rotate in there. You know, I just think there's - (CB Perrish) Cox has played a ton outside on the left because we've rested (CB) Champ (Bailey) a little bit and then Champ was banged up a little bit last week. I think it has really given our guys an opportunity to take some repetitions that they wouldn't have got and that's really I think the biggest plus of the whole thing. I wouldn't single one player out though."
On if he is concerned WR Demaryius Thomas might have to catch up when he comes back
"No, we put his feet back in the bucket. They're wet already, so he's ready to go. I tell you, he's really displayed a great attitude and a great approach to this whole situation for a young player. He's met extra, he takes as many notes as anybody else in the meeting, he asks great questions, he's not discouraged by the fact that he has missed (practice) - I mean he's certainly wants to be out there as much as anybody else does, but I think he's used the time wisely and he's used it to his advantage trying to get ahead in some other areas that he still needs to learn. It's not just all on the field. There are plenty of things he needs to do better off the field. He needs to know the offense a little better. He's worked on that. He's worked on - (he) studied the corners real hard last week against Detroit even though he wasn't playing. So, those are all good things for him and he can learn from those situations, and I think he has taken the time to do that. I know he is real excited to get back out there today."
RUNNING BACK CORRELL BUCKHALTER
On whether he's back at 100 percent health
"In this league, you're never 100 percent. Once you enter the NFL, the days of being 100 percent are over. Most guys can attest to that - you're going to feel something. I'm going to work my way back in and we'll go from there. I haven't been in all of camp so I've got to ease into it and get my body back into football shape."
On whether it feels good to get back on the field
"Absolutely - any guy that's injured that steps back on the field is a positive note. You want to be out here with your guys, you want to get better to get yourself to the season. In order for you to have a successful season, there are some things that you need to do in training camp."
On the running game
"We haven't really run the ball that much. A lot of teams are going through similar things as we're going through with the running game. Right now is the time to fix everything so when the season comes you won't have that letdown and I'm confident in our offensive linemen. I think we have some great guys on that line that will really get this running game going once we really start running the ball effectively and start running the ball."
On what he's noticed about the running game while watching from the sidelines
"Like I said, it's not like the guys have been running the ball 30 times a game - (they) haven't really run the ball that much. The little things that I do see - like I said, it's a team effort - especially on offense, it takes all 11 guys. One guy not doing his job can affect the whole play. It's a group thing and we're working each week to get better at it and I know when the season comes we'll be pretty good at it."
On missing time due to injury
"Anytime you're a player, you want to be out there on the field and I've been blessed that this is my 10th season now and it still feels the same way as if I were a rookie to be on the sideline watching and to see the guys go through the things they go through to make themselves better and you always want to be out there and I worked myself up to the point where I can start practice today and go from there."
On whether he feels like he needs game repetitions before the regular season begins
"I think that practicing with (the team), I definitely get the feel and that's where it all starts. I've been blessed to play in this league for awhile so I kind of can see some things before they happen and just being out here on a day-to-day basis, getting better will help our offensive line and also help me so it's just a day-by-day approach but obviously you want to get something done in practice."
RUNNING BACK LENDALE WHITE
On if it has been frustrating to not be able to play
"Yeah, it's always frustrating. We are football players and you can't play football if you are in the training room. That's definitely not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be out here with the guys (and) learn everybody, you know, just show them the emotion - the heart that I bring and all kind of stuff-show them that I am a part of the team and I want to be a Bronco. It's going to work out just fine. I've just got to continue to keep level headed, stay out of the way and keep working hard and I should be fine."
On what the conversations have been like with him and the other running backs
"Just got to get healthy and get back on the field and make some plays. With the way it looks right now, there are some guys in the backfield that should be able to do a lot of things. Every offense I have ever been a part of, if the run goes then the offense goes really well, and I've been a part of the top-five offensive rushing teams since I've been at Tennessee. So, I told them if we run the way (QB) Kyle (Orton) is out there calling the plays now - he's comfortable, he's learned everything - I think the run game will take a lot of pressure off everybody and we will be able to win some ball games."
On if he feels he has a lot to prove this season
"You always want to get out there and just prove what you can do as far as football is concerned, but I don't judge anything off of preseason because I've played with 120 guys in the preseason that are nowhere to be found when camp breaks. So, it's unfortunate, but you know I look forward to making plays when the season counts. If I can be out here, I'll be out here."
On how anxious he is to get on the field
"I've been licking them (my chops). The first day out here I was licking them. I am excited to get back to football. Once you are playing football, there's nothing that can be said. You can't say I wasn't working out in the offseason, I didn't do this, I wasn't doing that. Now, I'm here. I'm playing football and I'm trying to get better every day; so that's what I just can't wait to do - just get on the field (and) show my teammates I'm here for the long haul. I'm going to work hard for them and you know I'm going to continue to get better every day. You know, rehabbing is not easy. You are in there for 13 hours a day. You can't wait to get in and play football, believe me."